AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Musson (Bermingham), Mackie, McDonald (C), Jaffray, Darlington, García García (Kennedy), Whiteley, New (Ighofose), Kilgour, Corbett.
GOALS: Corbett ASSISTS: Kennedy MAN OF THE MATCH: Darlington
Dire Didsbury Die A Death
Two words, one man: Michael Corbett. Fresh from his week of finishing training with Swindon Town FC, Corbs, as he's affectionately known, knew he had a belter of a goal in him this week and he wasn't far wrong. He started the game his usual self, causing the cagey Fallowfield defence all sorts of problems with his movement. And it wouldn't be long until he got that chance (he only needs one) to prove himself in front of goal. It was only seventy minutes in when substitute Matt Kennedy took a cross from the right onto his chest, caressed it around the corner of the onrushing centre back, and lofted a gloriously weighted pass into Corbs' path. The irrepressible Didsbury forward watched the ball drop over his shoulder on the edge of the box, had time to bend down and shine up his left boot and smashed a half volley with his wrong foot, right into the postage stamp. It was one of those goals that I'm sure the Fallowfield boys will all say 'I was there that day when...' in years to come, but for the Didsbury lads it's only what they've come to expect from their magical number nine.
Unfortunately, aside from Lloyd Darlington’s warrior-like performance in midfield, which earned him man of the match, this was the single highlight from an otherwise poor game. Starting with two linesmen on the same side of the pitch, the referee clearly had his mind on his forthcoming GCSEs J, but in fairness he wasn't the only one who seemed distracted. Struggling for composure on the ball or any pace or purpose on the break, Didsbury allowed their excited opponents to sneak three well worked tap-ins, which was enough for them to secure a deserved victory. Their enthusiastic celebrations at the end of the game showed what it meant to them and on this holiest of Mothering Sundays, I'm sure they all did their mums proud. Credit to the opposition but Didsbury now look ahead and know that they must improve ahead of Sunday’s JA Kennedy Cup semi-final, away to Hulme.
Goals: Battersby Assists: Peat Man of the Match: Rogers Yellow Cards: Whiteley Red Cards: -
The myth has gone...
Muss Side 1 Moss Side 0
Captain John Battersby’s half time message as Didsbury led Moss Side 3-1 during their first encounter back in the 2011/12 season was simple “I honestly think we can beat them today fellas. The myth has gone”. Final score Moss Side 7 – AFC Didsbury 4. Famous last words.
Didsbury lost that game and their subsequent 5 games against Moss Side. Almost every team does. For those who aren’t familiar with their MASFL history, here are some impressive facts about Moss Side football club:
·MASFL Premier League winners for the past 10 seasons
·Only 2 league defeats during the last 10 seasons
·83 goals scored in 14 games in all competitions this season
The challenge faced by Musson’s side was formidable but with almost a full strength squad to choose from and following a good run of recent results, there was a definite sense of optimism in the changing room before the game.The stage was set for what has already entered into AFC Didsbury folklore as ‘One Nil Day’ (#1nilday).
Whilst the words Sunday league football and tactics are not normally associated, it was clear that as Musson delivered his team talk, there was a game plan. Make that a master plan. Lessons had clearly been learned from the recent 10-2 defeat by Moss Side in the reverse fixture in January.
Didsbury won the toss and choose to play with the wind behind them in the first half on a typically blustery Manchester morning.The game started slowly as a cagey Didsbury sought to keep things tight and their opponents seemed content to ease their way into the game.
Sensing a lack of urgency in their opposition, Didsbury began to push forward and create openings. Gaz Lee and Liam Hadfield were combining well down the right hand side and delivered some dangerous crosses which went unconverted. Tom Whiteley and Pavol Vasko were winning the vital midfield battle and Mike Corbett and Ross Menghini, playing as 9 and 10 were causing problems with their neat interplay and clever touches. Confidence was building.
The first clear chance of the game arrived when Vasko made a clever run from midfield beyond the strikers which was picked out by a Ben Jaffray through ball. Vasko controlled expertly on his chest just inside the 18 yard box and his well directed shot to the bottom right corner was pushed away by the young Moss Side keeper.
Didsbury went close soon after when a mishit clearance from the goalkeeper landed at the feet of Corbett who was unlucky to see his exquisite left footed lob from 25 yards strike the crossbar and rebound to safety.
Moss Side offered a timely reminder of their attacking threat when their number 9 chested down a long ball and spun and volleyed on his left foot from the edge of the area. The ball flashed inches wide of the top left corner of the goal. This was the closest the home side went in the first half as Didsbury defended excellently on the front foot, Colin McDonald in particular making numerous interceptions to cut out the supply line.
With the game scoreless on the stroke of half time, Didsbury won a free kick on the left touch line midway into the Moss Side half. Sensing an opportunity, the big men were thrown forward.Winger Rick Peat assumed set piece duties and delivered a superb, whipped cross which captain Battersby met at the far post with a powerful header across goal into the top left corner to give Didsbury a well-deserved lead at the break.
This time around there was no rallying cry at half time.The manager and his players were fully aware that the hardest part of the job was yet to come. We had been here before.
The second half really belonged to Didsbury goalkeeper Wayne Rogers. Inspired by his recent penalty shootout heroics against Halton Juniors, Rogers produced his finest performance to date, playing with a confidence and self assurance that spread throughout the rest of the team.
For the opening 20 minutes of the second half, Moss Side were unrecognisable from their first half display. The midfield players began to run with the ball and created a number of scoring chances, which were denied by some excellent goalkeeping from Rogers.
After soaking up sustained pressure, a rare Didsbury attack resulted in Whiteley being played through on goal, he attempted to round the goalkeeper and was taken down to deny a certain goal. The referee leniently allowed the goalkeeper to stay on the pitch as it was his ‘first one’. Col McDonald stepped up and dragged his penalty wide of the right post, joining the growing list of Didsbury players who have missed penalties despite never missing previously. Or so they say!
With a slender lead to protect, Didsbury adopted the ‘what we have, we hold’ approach for the final 20 minutes of the game and parked the bus on the edge of their 18 yard box. Sensing the game slipping away from them, the home side resorted to direct football which suited the tiring Didsbury defence, with Battersby in particular making some vital headed clearances. García García came on to replace the excellent Rick Peat and added some much need physicality for the final stages.
As the clock ran down, Rogers pulled off further saves to deny clear goal scoring chances and hope faded for Moss Side. With minutes to play, a lapse in concentration allowed the Moss Side striker a final opportunity to score which was denied by a superb last ditch tackle from Hadfield.
The full time whistle eventually sounded and the Didsbury players celebrated their most impressive victory to date. Credit is also due to many of the Moss Side players who offered their sporting congratulations after the game, despite this defeat almost certainly blowing their hopes of retaining their league title.
For Didsbury this victory was not about their position in the league. This was the reward for the hard work throughout the season and for the improvement each year since the club was formed in 2010. This was about a group of players giving their all for 90 minutes to beat a truly excellent side. This was about going for a pint with your teammates after the game and saying ‘can you believe we beat them’.After all, this is the reason we all get up on a Sunday morning to run around a muddy field.
Words by Ben Jaffray
AFC Didsbury accepts no liability for the content of this match report, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. If you are not the intended audience you are notified that disclosing, copying, distributing or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this information is strictly prohibited.
AFC Didsbury 1 Halton Juniors 1 *** AFC Didsbury win 3-2 on penalties ***
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Darlington, McDonald, Battersby (C), Jaffray (Hadfield), Lee (Peat), Harrison, Whiteley (Kilgour), Vasko, García García (Menghini), Corbett (Kennedy).
GOALS: Corbett ASSISTS: Peat MAN OF THE MATCH: Harrison PENALTIES SCORED: Vasko, McDonald, Kennedy
Didsbury Dump Halton out of the Cup
In decades to come, Old Didsburyians will tell their grandkids that this thriller of a quarter-final was the match that almost didn’t happen at all. It was Saturday night, and Rossi had donned his finest sweatbands (head and wrists), neon vest, and was about to crack his glowsticks - so excited was he at the thought of an unexpected night on the town without his missus holding him back. The rest of the Didsbury squad however, were delighted to hear that Turn Moss had stepped in to rescue the tie. As the team was announced and the kits were put on (there’s a story about the kits, but I value my place in the squad so no comment), the focus somehow moved from the starting XI to the subs. “This is such a strong bench”....“This bench is amazing; you guys had better play well” said Matt Kennedy, a substitute. Thankfully Kenners found room on that bench for his ego, and the game could begin.
Didsbury, famously slow starters, were at it from the off. Downhill and with the wind, chances were created early unfortunately landing too often on Gareth Lee’s sand iron of a left foot. Some one-touch play from Michael Corbett and Lloyd Darlington, and third-man running from Tom Whiteley saw the latter blast over what would have been a quality team goal. With Colin McDonald’s delivery from set-peices, captain John Battersby threatened several times, but couldn’t quite get a header on target.
Towards the end of the half, Jorge García García showed quick feet to elude two tackles and then slipped in Corbett. With only the keeper to beat, Corbett was bundled over from behind, and a spot kick correctly given. Alas, a decent pen was saved well to the keepers’ left. Other chances came and went for both sides, including one superb close range stop from Wayne Rogers to deny a certain Halton Juniors forward. His name will not feature during this report, because I don’t want this to turn into a Biggy Smalls / TuPac style feud. I’m hoping that’s a reference he’ll understand. I should mention though that he should have been sent off towards the end of the first half for kicking out after losing the ball. Congratulations to captain Battersby for showing restraint for the first time this season. Punishment clearly works, and he’s a reformed and better man for his time on the FA’s figurative naughty step.
I spent half time trying to put on as much clothing as possible, but could just about make out some positive words from manger, Adam Musson. ‘Keep going’, seemed to be the main message. And keep going we did. Despite now playing against the wind, and uphill, Didsbury remained the better side. Composure on the ball, notably from Pavol Vasko and Ben Jaffray, and dogged defending from the indefatigable (look it up) Matt Harrison and Darlington, maintained our superiority. At the back, McDonald was nicking the ball at will, and Battersby was cushioning headers down to his full backs like a slightly worse looking Emre Can. Needing a breakthrough, manager Musson turned to the aforementioned quality-laden bench. Ross Menghini and Rick Peat got the call (Kenners presumably wanted to stay on the bench, to maintain that high quality), and Didsbury finally got what they deserved. Breaking fast, Peat “ghosted” past his fullback and curled in an absolute belter of a cross. Corbett met it with his left peg and sent a volley sweetly into the bottom corner. 1-0.
Frankly, that should have been it. Rogers was barely troubled, and Vasko created further chances to put the game to bed. One such effort seemed destined to find the bottom corner, but the Halton Juniors’ keeper made another strong save. With about ten minutes to go, however, Harrison’s 148th tackle of the game was both unintentional and ill timed. On the edge of the box he slipped, and took he-who-must-not-be-named’s legs away. Despite the ball having been cleared, the ref pointed to the spot for a second time. Penalty scored, 1-1. And so with the weather deteriorating rapidly, it became too cold and rainy for any further quality football, and the match ended in disappointing fashion.
So to penalties we went. The ref spent a few minutes doing some weird marching thing, and then pointed to a certain piece of mud. I think it went a bit like this. I forget the order of the pens, but Vasko’s knee slide at his successful ‘first ever penalty’ was a memorable sight. Their captain sent their first wide. McDonald scored, and so did Kenners. Liam ‘I’ve never missed a pen’ Hadfield of course did just that, but thankfully it didn’t matter. Rogers made two saves – the crucial one preventing Halton Juniors’ star man from prolonging the arctic epic, and sending us through to the semis.
AFC Didsbury: Stiff, Johnson, McDonald (C), Hadfield, Darlington (Musson), Whiteley, Harrison, Vasko, García García (Wallace), Corbett, Kennedy (New).
GOALS: Vasko (2), García García ASSISTS: Kennedy, García García, Corbett MAN OF THE MATCH: Vasko
No love lost as Didsbury come out on top
The Valentines weekend saw a depleted Didsbury squad take on Nello James who were fresh off the back of a 6-4 victory over Halton Juniors. With a lot of the players putting the “close the gate” warm up to good use until the early hours it allowed the manager a rare foray into his player/manager role as he named himself on the bench.
Given the weekend it may have surprised many that Didsbury’s own ginger Neuer, Mike Stiff, was able to walk following his ruthless degrading of his female captive the night before, let alone make his debut between the sticks.
It was a dominant start for Didsbury and for once this yielded an early goal. A long ball by Matt Kennedy caused the Nello keeper to sprint off his line and scuff a clearance straight to the feet of Pavol Vasko who lobbed the ball first time over the retreating goalkeeper into the far corner.
Didsbury remained much the better side but it was a long ball over the top that almost undid all their hard work. The whippet of a striker beat the offside trap and bore down on goal but must have momentarily been star struck as Prince Harry came out to meet him. Stiff was able to save well and hold on to the ball in a situation which should have brought Nello level.
That was to be Nello’s only sight of goal in the first half and seemed to kick Didsbury back into action as the solitary goal lead was shown to be a precarious one.
The second goal was not long in coming (something which I am all too familiar with) and was, in the words of Battersby, “a magnificent goal, simple as that”. Magnificent it certainly was though as Didsbury worked the ball from left to right, then down the right flank near the corner flag. With seemingly nowhere to go a quick one two gets the ball into the penalty area and then 3 one touch passes later it is at the feet of our favourite Eastern European, who sees his first attempt saved but makes no mistake with the second, smashing it into the back of the net. Ruud Gullit coined the term “sexy football” and now I understood what he meant as I felt the snake stir in appreciation.
It was looking comfortable for Didsbury, so much so that manager, Adam Musson, was being allowed to experiment and so he let Kenners have some shooting practice, but this came to an abrupt end as they were posing a threat to low flying aircraft. Musson then allowed Tom Whiteley into the box but when the ball found him 8 yards out it was his control that yielded the goal kick rather than his shooting. At the other end the lack of action meant Stiff forgot where he was as he lapsed into 5-a-side rules and tried to roll out of his hands from a goal kick.
Eventually a third goal did arrive. Man of the match Vasko dances past a couple of players on the left before delivering a sublime cross into the 6 yard box where 3 unmarked Didsbury players wait. However rather than simply smashing it in, they decided to show what a great team spirit we have by letting each of them have a touch before Jorge García García applied the finishing touch.
3-0 at half time and fully deserved.
Nello came out in the second half knowing that if they could get an early goal then they may yet be able to salvage from the game. Didsbury's first half dominance was not repeated in the first 15 minutes as Nello gave as good as they got but neither side were able to test either keeper.
As the hour mark approached the first change were made as Jack Wallace came on for the impressive Garcia Garcia, and so switching the team to the classic 4-4-2 formation. Was it this change of formation or was it a lapse in concentration but soon after the change Nello finally got the goal they had been looking for. The ball looked to be going harmlessly out for a Didsbury goal kick, being shepherded out by the ever watchful Colin McDonald, but then out of nowhere the Nello forward nipped around him and got a toe on it to poke it back into the 6 yard area. Stiff and the other striker launched themselves at the ball but it broke kindly for the Nello forward and he was able to slot it into the empty net. 3-1.
Nello were pushing up the pitch now and this was leaving them vulnerable at the back. Wallace, back in the squad after eye surgery, latched onto a huge Stiff kick which deceived the Nello defence, but despite his perfect vision he failed to see the keeper was stood on his line so his attempted lob was a waste.
Vasko continued to be a thorn in the Nello's right side as he repeatedly skipped past the full back to deliver tantalising crosses, the first fell to Wallace who scuffed his shot wide, and the second to Kenners who failed to make contact with the goal gaping. That was all but his last contribution as Mr Muscle himself, Gaz New, took his place.
New gave Didsbury a new dimension allowing them to play the ball in behind. And it was good play from New which saw his crossed headed clear to Whiteley. His eyes lit up as it fell beautifully for a first time volley. The whole of Didsbury held their breath as he catches it perfectly and like a missile it bares down on goal. The same thing runs through every Didsbury players head “I'm still hearing about that scuffed goal he scored back in November, how many times will I have to hear this one?”. Fortunately, the Nello defender did everyone a favour by putting in a superb block and not only keeping Nello in the game but saving the Didsbury team from going voluntarily deaf.
Nello were having more of the ball but all the chances were falling to Didsbury. The only time they looked in danger was when they overplayed it at the back causing McDonald to make a couple of excellent last ditch tackles to avert the danger.
At this stage New was so confident of his pace he was mocking the Nello defence as he walked around them with his hands in his pockets, or perhaps just prepping himself for the post-match shower.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes hard man Vasko was again in the thick of the action. Vasko known for his love of a good scrap was deemed to have taken down the man mountain at the back unfairly by the referee and whilst they exchanged words he was slapped which unbelievably went unpunished.
With 2 minutes to go the Didsbury defence passed the ball straight to the Nello striker in the area and he was able to jink past his marker before firing past Stiff into the far corner.
Despite the possibility of a nervy few minutes, with the exception of Musson being “backed into by their winger” and then falling over claiming a penalty, which was emphatically not given by the ref, Didsbury comfortably saw the game out. Relief all round but not least for Stiff’s woman as she would only have to enact out chapters 6-14 of 50 Shades of Grey, as he was in a good mood, as he and Didsbury left with the 3 points.
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Mackie (Bermingham), Johnson, Whiteley, Jaffray, Lee, Harrison (C), Kilgour (García García), Menghini (New), Corbett, Kennedy.
GOALS: Harrison, Menghini, Whiteley ASSISTS: Kennedy (2), New MAN OF THE MATCH: Leighton
Didsbury Bank their Place in the Quarter Finals
On a misty morning, so cold John Snow and the Nightswatch would have had to put an extra pair of socks on, AFC Didsbury, prepared to take on Firbank of Division 2 in the JA Kennedy Cup.
With manager, Adam Musson, hoping the ‘magic of the cup’ would not strike another footballing giant and he’d be left doing his best Mourinho impression, AFC Didsbury set about their task. Early signs showed that he needn’t of worried with luxury centre forward Matt Kennedy pulling the best from Firbank’s No1 twice in the opening few minutes. The first a tip over the bar from a superb left footed shot from 25 yards out, after the defence had backed off in awe. The second from point blank range as Kennedy had brought the ball down and athletically volleyed after some pin ball action from a corner.
Didsbury continued to pile on the pressure and 15 minutes in, they had their reward. Another corner was sent into the box, which the away side failed to clear and Kennedy from the edge of the box, threaded a pass through two onrushing players into Matt Harrison’s feet, who finished from 6 yards. 5 minutes later, once again Kennedy turned provider, after some neat work down the wing with Jonathan Mackie, Kennedy found himself on the by-line. With a swish of his right wand, Kennedy sent in an arcing ball for which Wembley Stadium or ‘Joan of’ would have been proud of. Arriving at the back post was Ross Menghini who finished from 10 yards.
In the later stages of the first half Firbank grew into the game, cutting out the supply to Kennedy, and keeping the ball well in mid-field but for all their good play could only forge a couple of chances, which were wasted thanks to poor finishing and a great save from Leighton.
AFC Didsbury are renowned for their charity work and 5 minutes into the 2nd half Musson continued this trend into the match by substituting Kennedy, but not before he tested the keeper once more, Firbank’s No1 again coming to their rescue getting a toe to a Kennedy flick after a superb ball from Spanish Ladies’ man García García.
In the second half Didsbury failed to get out of second gear, which invited pressure from the away team. As the half went on Firbank found their shooting boots, but as they did, Leighton continued to be a brick wall and despite having the distribution of a blind postman, he was plucking saves out from the top draw and keeping Didsbury’s lead intact. Even after Didsbury increased the deficit when Tom Whiteley tapped in from a corner, Leighton was on hand to save Harrison’s blushes with an excellent penalty save from little Charlton.
Firbank rallied to get a deserved consolation goal and just like all those Friday night Babestation sessions, this spoilt Leighton’s dreams of keeping a clean sheet. Winter cobwebs were blown away and Didsbury march on to the next round.
AFC Didsbury: Rogers, Hadfield, Battersby (C), McDonald, Jaffray, Lee, García García, Whiteley, Darlington, Corbett, Menghini.
Goals: García García, Corbett, Darlington Assists: Corbett, García García, Lee Man of the Match: Corbett
"I never comment on referees and I'm not going to break the habit of a lifetime for that prat."Big Ron Atkinson On the back of a disappointing November in which Didsbury were twice eliminated from cup competitions on penalties, a league fixture against bottom club Joshua Brooks seemed the ideal tonic for a team looking to re-discover their early season form and end the successful 2014 year on a high.
Returning to his old club, Didsbury new boy Ross Menghini might have been expecting a red hot reception. He needn’t have worried as the freezing conditions and intermittent hail storms meant that not only did the Joshua Brooks supporters stay away, so too had most of the playing squad as the home team were barely able to scrape together a starting eleven.
Manager Adam Musson was missing for the fixture owing to his traditional yuletide visit to Santacon in London (google it!!). Rumours that he was employed for the day as one of the little helpers are unconfirmed at this stage.Credit must go to Didsbury super-fan and stand in manager for the day, Janet Pilkington, who braved the cold as the only witness to this absolute turkey of a match.
Turning to the action, Didsbury started the game in a lively fashion, creating a number of half chances by looking to utilise their pace on the flanks and exploit the extremely suspect Joshua Brooks fullbacks. The opening goal arrived midway through the first half when prolific goal scorer Mike Corbett turned provider, his tempting cross from the right flank was met by the impressive Jorge Garcia-Garcia who found the net with a precise header.
As has so often been the case this season, the tendency of the Didsbury defence to overplay at the back led to mistakes and it was only the wastefulness of the Joshua Brooks forwards that let Didsbury off the hook.Goalkeeper Wayne Rogers was only once troubled in the 1st half, saving very smartly at his front post to a well struck attempt from outside the area by the home side.
The half time whistle gave Didsbury the chance to introduce some fresh legs and once again the away side started the half brightly. Didsbury soon doubled their lead when Garcia- Garcia’s pass found Corbett at the edge of the area, who finished superbly from a tight angle with a shot high into the top left corner of the goal.
With a two goal cushion, Didsbury were in complete control of the game and began to create numerous openings. The game was livened up considerably when Didsbury defender Ben Jaffray was on the receiving end of a dangerous and some would say cowardly challenge from his opposing number. Captain John Battersby was quiche to jump to the defence of his teammate and made it abundantly clear that the young scamp would not be on his Christmas card list this year. From the resulting melee, Battersby and the offending player were both dismissed as both sides were reduced to 10 men. The Didsbury captain made sure the referee was fully aware of his disapproval for the decision and almost landed himself in further trouble with his protests.He can expect a call from the FA this week.
This tear up seemed to give the home team a much needed wake up call and they finally began to ask questions of the Didsbury defence and commit men forward.From one of these attacks, a hopeful ball was played into the box and centre-back Colin McDonald was very harshly judged to have fouled the Joshua Brooks striker leading to a penalty being awarded. For once, the spot kick gods looked favourably on Didsbury and the attempt was blazed wildly over the bar.
Didsbury made the most of this reprieve by immediately going on the attack and finding the killer 3rd goal. Once again the chance was fashioned down the right hand side as winger Gaz Lee found the onrushing Lloyd Darlington with a neat pull back which Darlington calmly slotted into the bottom left corner of the net.
This was not a classic Didsbury performance by any means. The conditions and the lacklustre opposition meant that this was a day where all that mattered was the 3 points. On the bright side, only the second clean sheet of the season ought to give the recently shaky defence some much needed confidence and with a win against Stretford Victoria on Sunday, Didsbury could go into 2015 in second place in the league where tougher challenges await.
St Johns Greens 2 AFC Didsbury 2 *** St Johns progress after winning 6-5 on penalties ***
AFC Didsbury: Leighton, Hadfield, Mackie (Peat), Battersby (C), Jaffray, Lee (Wallace), Harrison, Whiteley (Kilgour), Vasko (New), Corbett, Menghini.
Goals: Menghini, Harrison Assists: Vasko Man of the Match: Harrison Sloppy Didsbury Dumped out of Cup…Again
Kilgour and Wallace can expect the phone call from the Pizza Hut ad team as once again Didsbury succumbed to some abject finishing and suicidal defending to crash out of a cup against far inferior opposition on penalties.
The game started brightly with Didsbury’s passing game in full flow and St Johns chasing shadows for the first 10minutes.What seems to look like a copy and paste from almost every match report over the past 2 years:
“Didsbury’s pressure didn’t actually result in the opposition keeper making a save”
Meant Didsbury’s opening dominance evaporated and allowed St Johns to grow into the game.
Nothing could have made them grow into it more than the worst back pass this club has seen from captain Battersby.He managed to pull off a 1 in 20 through ball from wide on the left to dissect defence and goalkeeper and straight into the path of the St Johns striker who made no mistake with the finish.
1 – 0 St Johns
With this unexpected and undeserved bonus gifted to them the Division 1 leaders grew into the game and Didsbury’s passing game started to allude them with both Mackie and Hadfield gifting huge opportunities with more sloppy play at the back.
Didsbury struggled to get their forwards into the game and Corbett and Menghini both had the ‘sulking striker’ look planted across their faces for most of the first half.
When the ball finally did get worked upfield Menghini twisted inside and out to create Didsbury’s first opportunity which was followed up by both Whiteley and Lee having speculative efforts over the bar.
At the break Didsbury were still comfortably the better team but with nothing to show for it.
With Musson firing the lads up with a classic rally call there was surely only one team scoring next.
And that was St Johns
Some more hopeless defending that hasn’t been seen since an Under 13s game between Blackburn Celtic Juniors and Burnley Minis a gently floated corner to the near post was inexcusably left by Lee on the line and with Leighton nowhere to be seen the ball goes directly in.Sunday League at it’s finest.
2 – 0 St Johns.
This second goal seemed to spark both the team and the manager with a tactical switch to 3 at the back meant young Rick Peat took to the field in place of centre half Mackie.
With play becoming quicker and more direct Didsbury started to play far higher up the pitch and were duly rewarded when a clever free kick from Menghini went under the wall and into the bottom corner
1 – 2 St Johns
It was now all Didsbury with man of the match Matthew Harrison running the show in midfield. Dominant in the first half and fired up in the second he met a beautiful cross from Pavol Vasko on the front left of the opposition area.The header from this position was sublime, arrowing up and over the keeper into the top right hand corner.
2 – 2 and Didsbury on top.
With fresh legs in the form of Kilgour adding a real spark and pace in midfield Didsbury continued to build momentum knowing that there was no extra time coming.
Once more this season Didsbury’s final ball was not good enough with the St Johns keeper not registering a save of note at all in the closing stages with Rik Peats deflected effort cannoning off the post the closest Didsbury came to the winner.
With the clock ticking down and the skipper still fuming at his poor performance he decided to run half the pitch to stop poor Tricky getting kicked by the smallest man on the pitch.All while Gaz New looked on 5 yards away.
The final whistle blew and we were going to penalties.
After the last exit Harrison and Jaffray kept their hands well and truly down their shorts when the question on who wanted to take came up.The courageous 5 were Hadfield, Peat, Corbett, Menghini and Kilgour
Peat, Hadfield and Menghini all converting along with St Johns counterparts to leave the scores at 3 – 3.
Big Jim Leighton finally announced himself to the game with a fantastic save to put Didsbury in the driving seat.
Corbett converted the next along with St Johns final penalty.
This meant Kilgour could send Didsbury into Round 2.Weird skip at the start of his run up didn’t bode well, horrible dribbler to the right hand side.Keeper walks across and picks the ball up.
Into Sudden Death.
Pressure on Gaz New??You clearly don’t know the Welshman.Banged in to keep Didsbury in it.
With St Johns continuing to convert meant Jack ‘William’ Walllace needed score.It wasn’t to be, as he sunk to his knees and the tears rolled down his cheeks his team mates couldn’t look him in the eye.
Hung, Drawn and Quartered his ancestor may have been but that is an easy exit from this world compared to the intolerable pain that follows around a decisive penalty miss.
We can only hope Wallace drags himself off the 5th Av floor in the early hours of Sunday morning to put in a performance to get us the 3 points against Joshua Brooks
Goals: Menghini (2), Kennedy, Vasko, New Assists: Kennedy, Whiteley, New, Menghini (2) Man of the Match: Menghini
When I got home on Sunday I could not stop thinking...Mc’Donalds or KFC???What had made him leave??? Why...
What a tough decision, I know.
There is only one dude who can queue up in Mc's and leave everything and everyone behind and go for KFC, and he knows it ;) we love you ..
Whatever made him change his mind that was after the match so let’s go four hours back in time...,
It was a gray cold November morning at Broadway Park, everything seemed to be ready for another engrossing match, till the middle of warming up when AFC realized that they are at the wrong pitch and their opponents are god knows where. Luckily our manager managed to sort that one out after making a quick call.
Before we started there was a queer smell floated in the air ,suddenly all eyes were on Mackie's fiancée , is this how Mackie is paying for his weeding , is this how you can afford to invite everyone for your posh dinner , is it ? is it Mackie?
No wonder, Rogers missed the ball few times in first 5 minutes, thanks god they didn't convert any of it.
Anyway, AFCD started playing tiqui-taca (who doesn’t know what is tiqui-taca just ask google) from the beginning with Jorge dictating the tempo from the middle, they were maintaining the possession well, good on the ball, without any fear going forward, quite solid at the back, with only three defenders as they switched back to famous 3-5-2 even though it is a not good formation, oppositions creating way more chances as they would against 4-4-2.
However, there is always something positive to pick in negative things, did not take long and Matt K.the KFC dude sent beautiful pass behind the highly unorganized defense probably the worst I everseen in my entire life and Ross found himself one on one and with a Diego Costa’s style did not give any chance for keeper to stop him celebrating his 6th goal of the season…. 1:0 to AFC!!!
After the opening goal the game changed a bit, AFC slowed down, Broadway lads got better on the ball, with few lucky touches created few chances and left the AFC defenders once again thinking of themselves. Fortunately, their strikers’ ability were really poor so no goal for Broadway.
With 25 minutes gone, AFCD exchanged few balls in the middle of field, passing the ball forward to Matt K, who brilliantly controlled the ball, went through few players as if there weren't even there and once he reached the edge of the box he didn’t give the keeper any chance to stop his rocket shot. 2:0 to AFC!!! Everything seems to be back on the track after few weeks of disappointment.
We could see some bright moments in AFCD performance, co-operation between McDonald and Vasko was working really well with help from the middle from Garcia, Whitely and Harrison, the same on the other side Jaffray with Gaz Lee caused problems for Broadway’s defenders. Gaz Lee was playing his another great game ("if he just knew how good he is, he just has to believe in himself " as an old Irish would say who BTW did not disappoint again, teaching the opponents good behavior and some basic rules which one of their defenders obviously didn’t like it, kick the ball away, thought he would be a hero and true is he just proved how stupid he is.
AFCD managed to have some good corners till end of the first half and that was it pretty much it in first half.
In spite of the wining 2:0 AFCD wasn’t 100% satisfied with their performance, and wanted to improve even more with the second half ahead of them, score some more goals and more importantly not concede any.
With Gaz New about to get on the pitch that could be a whole new chapter…
Well, after he got on the pitch he received a good ball from right side, ran along the box and finished it with a decent shoot. No longer after that there was a good combination on the right side again and he crossed the ball in and Ross alias Costa nodded it in (after being 2 yards offside) I could clearly see it from my position. 3:0 to AFCD!!!!
Few subs were made, With Hadfield and Lloyd coming on, brought some fresh wind into AFCD’s sails some good passes and stable defending were made especially by Hadfield.
What happened then, it is difficult to put into words, it was quick and did cost Rogers his clean sheet ,everything started after Whiteley hilariously ending up on the floor , myself laughing my head off instead attacking the fella with the ball (pretty sure there was few more of us doing the same) , and that’s how Broadway got back to the game.
Didn’t take long for AFCD to shake off from the goal , Ross got into the box from right side and with a gentle chip set the ball for Vasko on the other side who comfortably volleyed it in. 4:1 !!!!
Similar chance has Lloyd few minutes later unfortunately the ball went above the bar… (It was good mate , but not quite Carling !!! )
Gaz new then finished his good performance with great goal as he sprinted through whole pitch, leaving the 40 years old dude behind him and not giving any chance to keeper , what an outstanding moment. 5:1 to AFCD !!!
Gaz found himself in few more chances afterwards,however, he did not manage score any more goals.
Broadway, added one more goal at the end, but that did not stop AFCD from having a nice Sunday , either in KFC or Mc'Donalds, personal preferences ...
All Didsbury players are looking forward to their X-mas Party and next Sunday match which is going to be live on ITV from 10:30